This gripping Netflix documentary chronicles this country's history of racial inequality and white supremacy in the justice system. 13th digs deep into the incarceration and targeting of African-Americans, who make up the majority of prisoners in the United States. Acclaimed Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay brings her talents to this timely doc, which doesn't pose specific solutions for mass incarceration but insteads opens the blinds, windows, and every single door to show that America might not be the land of the free. The film is available now on Netflix and in select theaters.
Green Day, Revolution Radio
It's been three years since Green Day's last album, and like wine, the band has aged well. The result is a familar, but satisfying, new collection called Revolution Radio. Green Day -- led by bisexual singer Billie Joe Armstrong -- sings of the precarious political climate of America but also finds room for romantic torch songs and good ol' garage rock. The signature three-chord repetition, raspy shouts into the mike, and thoughtful ballads remind us why we've loved Green Day since the Dookie days of the mid-'90s. The album is out now and can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify.
The Birth of a Nation
The controversial and powerful film TheBirth of a Nation is now in theaters. It follows real-life hero Nat Turner, who led a bloody slave rebellion in 1831 Virginia. TheBirth of a Nation is an unflinching commentary on the past injustices heaped on African-Americans and an eerie reflection of the struggles they continue to face today. This film takes a refreshing turn away from the typical Hollywood slave narrative; they do not wait for a "white savior" or a peaceful understanding/resolution, but instead action is taken by the people for the people. It is an important story, unfortunately tainted by rape allegations against the film's director and star, Nate Parker. It might be hard for one to see a film about liberation as we hear about a woman being silenced following her alleged rape. It's interesting that the decision to even see the film is creating a moral quandary. Stay tuned...
amfAR benefit album, The Time Is Now!
Benefit albums are so '80s, so it makes sense that the latest -- The Time Is Now!, benefiting amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research -- is a compilation of songs from the greed decade. Out now, the 14-track album features cuts like Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Dita Von Teese and Sebastien Tellier, DNCE performing Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It," and Marian Hall trying on Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." Also look for songs from Phantogram, Metric, Brazilian Girls, and Yuna. Click here for more info.
Comcast/Here Media's LGBT film of the week
Comcast recently launched the Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection on Xfinity On Demand, and the collection includes hundreds of LGBT-centric storylines and characters. Comcast also partnered up with Here TV's Premium On Demand service (Here TV and The Advocate are owned by the same company), and will now offer a free weekly LGBT-featured offering to all Xfinity TV customers.
This week the free movie is 30 Years From Here, an Emmy Award-nominated documentary exploring the AIDS epidemic through the voices of activists, medical experts, and LGBT people who were on the front lines. The film features interviews with playwright Terrence McNally, activist and ACT UP founder Larry Kramer, former Gay Men's Health Crisis CEO Marjorie Hill, physician Frank Spinelli, director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and radio talk show host Larry Flick.
Customers can find 30 Years From Here in the Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection and on https://my.xfinity.com/lgbt. On Xfinity X1, use the voice remote to find all LGBT entertainment. Say "30 Years From Here" or "LGBT" to browse the entire Xfinity LGBT Film & TV Collection.
No, operas aren't only about mythological figures, royalty, or 19th-century bohemians. The Los Angeles Opera is presenting one with ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter: The Source, about Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier now serving a 35-year sentence in military prison for sharing classified documents with WikiLeaks. The Source was first performed to much acclaim in 2014 in New York City, and the L.A. Opera production is its West Coast premiere. It centers on the time between the initial leak and Manning's arrest, and uses four vocalists to turn the words of Manning and others into song, accompanied by a seven-piece chamber ensemble and a video installation. Ted Hearne composed the music, Mark Doten wrote the libretto, and Daniel Fish directs. There will be just six performances, October 19-23, at REDCAT in downtown L.A. Buy tickets here, and if you miss The Source in Los Angeles, you can see it in San Francisco in 2017.
The Real O'Neals
The series about a gay teenager in a Catholic family in Chicago, based partly on the life of journalist Dan Savage, returns for a second season. Kenny (Noah Galvin) will deal with the challenges of being out of the closet while coping with his parents' divorce and getting often-unhelpful advice from older brother Jimmy. Over the summer, Galvin, who is gay himself, gave a candid interview to Vulture in which he lambasted closeted actors, Hollywood homophobia, and more, then quickly apologized -- but many people thought he made good points. In a column for our sibling publication Out this week, Galvin called his action "unkind and dumb -- two things I have always tried not to be." It's inarguable, though, that he's a talented actor, and we'll be glad to see him back on the screen when The Real O'Neals has its season premiere Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.